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What Are the Benefits of Taking Estrogen?

Reviewed on 7/9/2020

What Is Estrogen?

Estrogen is a naturally occurring female hormone. 

There are 3 types of naturally occurring estrogens:

  • Estradiol (E2) is largely produced by theca and granulosa cells of the ovary. 
    • It is the most prevalent type of estrogen found in women before menopause.
  • Estrone (E1) is produced from estradiol in a reversible reaction and is also a product of the secondary conversion of androstenedione secreted by the adrenal cortex
    • This is the main form of estrogen in a woman’s body after menopause
  • Estriol (E3) is the estrogen the placenta secretes during pregnancy.
    • Estriol is a secondary metabolite of estradiol and estrone. 
    • This form of estrogen is not secreted by the ovaries.

What Is Estrogen Therapy?

Estrogen therapy, with or without a progestogen (progesterone and progestin), is a type of hormone replacement therapy prescribed to replace estrogen the body is no longer making.

What Is Estrogen Used to Treat?

Estrogen therapy is used to treat:

  • Vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause
    • Hot flashes
      • Studies have shown oral, transdermal, or vaginal hormone therapy reduce the severity of hot flashes by 65-90%
    • Night sweats
    • Sleep disturbances
  • Osteoporosis 
    • Prevent bone loss
    • Reduce the risk of fractures 
  • Genitourinary symptoms 
    • Vulvar burning or itching
    • Vaginal dryness or discharge
    • Vulvovaginal atrophy 
    • Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia) or post-coital spotting 
    • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
    • Pain or discomfort when urinating
    • Urinary frequency or urgency
  • Estrogen deficiency caused by hypogonadism
  • Premature surgical menopause 
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)

Estrogen therapy is available in several forms:

  • Oral
  • Transdermal (applied to the skin)
    • Patches
    • Gels
    • Sprays
    • Lotions/creams
  • Injectable
  • Vaginal 
    • Suppositories
    • Creams
    • Rings


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Track and Prevent Symptoms See Slideshow

What Are the Benefits and Risks Estrogen Therapy?

The benefits of estrogen therapy include:

The risks of estrogen therapy include:

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Reviewed on 7/9/2020
Medscape Medical Reference